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Nevada Man Faces Time Behind Bars for Alleged Role in CoinDeal Scam

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: iStock/ViewApart

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged a Nevada man for his role in the multi-million-dollar CoinDeal investment scheme.

In a recent press release, the DOJ said Bryan Lee conspired with CoinDeal leader Neil Chandran to defraud 10,000 investors out of $45 million.

The Nevada resident reportedly misled customers to invest in companies controlled by Chandran by claiming that they were about to be acquired by buyers with deep pockets.

“Chandran allegedly misled investors by falsely promising extremely high returns on the premise that his companies were about to be acquired by a consortium of wealthy buyers,” the announcement said. 

Moreover, the DOJ alleged that Lee was the nominee owner and director of ViMarket, which claimed to be developing VR and “metaverse” technologies and an associated cryptocurrency. 

While Chandran promised “extremely high returns” to investors, Lee followed Chandran’s instructions and put investor funds into ViMarket’s bank accounts, the federal agency said. 

“Lee and Chandran allegedly misappropriated millions of dollars of investor funds and spent it on luxury cars and real estate.”

Lee is charged with one count of conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and three counts of engaging in monetary transactions in the criminally derived property. 

He faces up to 110 years in prison if convicted on all charges. 

Notably, Lee has not yet been found guilty and will make his first appearance in court immediately.

Earlier this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also charged five individuals and three companies tied to CoinDeal. 

Crypto Scams Increase as Market Grows

As the cryptocurrency market continues to grow, so does the prevalence of scams and hacks targeting unsuspecting victims.

Just recently, it was revealed that a scam-as-a-service company dubbed “Inferno Drainer” has siphoned off approximately $6 million worth of crypto assets from users since the start of the year. 

Similarly, a recent report showed that between August 2022 and May, crypto scammers made around 3,234 ETH, worth over $6 million, from fake airdrops.

Last year, the crypto industry lost approximately $4 Billion worth of digital assets to hacks, fraud, scams, and rug pulls, with five major exploits totaling $2,361,000,000 alone, accounting for 59.8% of all losses in the year.  

While hacks accounted for the bulk majority of crypto losses in 2022, other forms of illegal activities, including scams and frauds, continued to evolve and claim more victims. 

For instance, some scams capitalized on the World Cup Qatar 2022 program to launch phishing websites from around the globe designed to steal users’ identifying and banking data.